XF 2.2 Search forums, SEO improvements and dev team news

Screenshot 2020-08-03 at 10.47.31.pngA new way to surface content

Forums are usually devoted to a single subject matter and the threads they contain relate to that subject matter, unless it's all gone wrong and your users are wandering off topic. Threads belong to their parent forums, so if your board separates posts about kittens from posts about puppies into separate forums, you are never going to see a kitten thread and a puppy thread sitting next to each other within your forum hierarchy. This is how it has always been, it's the basic nature of the discussion forum paradigm.

But what if you want to have a forum that contains all threads from across your entire board that were posted in the week before last, or all threads started by moderators, or all threads that have no replies or... we could go on here.

Of course, we already have a mechanism to find those threads that meet those criteria in the form of the search system, but wouldn't it be great to be able to simply click on a named forum and get those matching threads returned as though they actually belonged to that forum? Well, with XenForo 2.2, you can.

Introducing Search Forums

forum-search-list.png


Search forums are a brand new type of node, which aggregate threads from your entire installation based on criteria of your choosing. This allows your members to browse a more diverse selection of threads as though they were all posted in the same forum.

forum-search-view.png
The simplest use of search forums might be to display threads from a handful of different forums, but the same comprehensive criteria system available in the 'Batch update threads' tool is at your fingertips.

forum-search-add.pngAdd-on developers, as ever, are able to extend this system to provide new options.

To ensure this feature performs as well as possible, results are cached for each user. You can set how long the cache lasts to make the appropriate trade-off between accuracy and performance.




tl;dr

 
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XenForo

Company info
Staff member

SEO improvements

When it comes to SEO, XenForo already makes extensive use of best practices. Of course, there is always room for improvement. That’s why we’re making a handful of changes to help take things to the next level.

Forum index controls

There are situations where you may want more control over how threads in a particular forum are indexed by search engines. New forum options let you do just that.

seo-forum-options.png
You will be able to choose whether search engines can index all threads, no threads, or only a set of threads meeting certain criteria on a per-forum basis. This HYS is brought to you by the word ‘criteria’. Criteria.







Outbound link adjustments

XenForo has always set the nofollow attribute on outbound links posted by members, with the notable exception of those posted by staff. A new permission gives you more granular control over designating exactly which users’ links should be trusted.

seo-user-permission.png

Last year, Google updated their recommendation for how to best attribute links in user-generated content. Accordingly, we now set the ugc attribute on links posted by untrusted users, in addition to the nofollow attribute for backwards compatibility with search engines which do not yet support the new attribute.

seo-link-ugc.png


Finally, we also work around the 'gotcha' of quoting messages containing links, and set the appropriate ugc and nofollow attributes on quoted links, regardless of whether or not the quote came from a trusted user.
 

XenForo

Company info
Staff member

And finally today

We've grouped these features together for today's HYS because they were all implemented by the same developer. Can you guess which?

Well, no, you probably can't, because they didn't come from the old brigade - in fact, we can thank one of our newest additions to the developer team for these, so we'd like to take this opportunity to officially welcome @Jeremy P to the XenForo team.

Jeremy has been working with us for some months now, helping to tame the bugs forums and cutting his teeth on features for 2.2. We're very happy to have him aboard.
 

GPA-R

Active member
Nice! :) I wish the noindex was extended to member as well as now I have to add it as a template modification to prevent engines from crawling spammers profiles :)

Search forums is supercool!
 

cdub

Well-known member
A new way to surface content

Forums are usually devoted to a single subject matter and the threads they contain relate to that subject matter, unless it's all gone wrong and your users are wandering off topic. Threads belong to their parent forums, so if your board separates posts about kittens from posts about puppies into separate forums, you are never going to see a kitten thread and a puppy thread sitting next to each other within your forum hierarchy. This is how it has always been, it's the basic nature of the discussion forum paradigm.

But what if you want to have a forum that contains all threads from across your entire board that were posted in the week before last, or all threads started by moderators, or all threads that have no replies or... we could go on here.

Of course, we already have a mechanism to find those threads that meet those criteria in the form of the search system, but wouldn't it be great to be able to simply click on a named forum and get those matching threads returned as though they actually belonged to that forum? Well, with XenForo 2.2, you can.

Introducing Search Forums

View attachment 226838

Search forums are a brand new type of node, which aggregate threads from your entire installation based on criteria of your choosing. This allows your members to browse a more diverse selection of threads as though they were all posted in the same forum.

View attachment 226839The simplest use of search forums might be to display threads from a handful of different forums, but the same comprehensive criteria system available in the 'Batch update threads' tool is at your fingertips.

View attachment 226837Add-on developers, as ever, are able to extend this system to provide new options.

To ensure this feature performs as well as possible, results are cached for each user. You can set how long the cache lasts to make the appropriate trade-off between accuracy and performance.
This is interesting.... But what we really need is custom field search and filtering. I really hope that is coming.
 

NicolasZN

Well-known member
A new way to surface content

Forums are usually devoted to a single subject matter and the threads they contain relate to that subject matter, unless it's all gone wrong and your users are wandering off topic. Threads belong to their parent forums, so if your board separates posts about kittens from posts about puppies into separate forums, you are never going to see a kitten thread and a puppy thread sitting next to each other within your forum hierarchy. This is how it has always been, it's the basic nature of the discussion forum paradigm.

But what if you want to have a forum that contains all threads from across your entire board that were posted in the week before last, or all threads started by moderators, or all threads that have no replies or... we could go on here.

Of course, we already have a mechanism to find those threads that meet those criteria in the form of the search system, but wouldn't it be great to be able to simply click on a named forum and get those matching threads returned as though they actually belonged to that forum? Well, with XenForo 2.2, you can.

Introducing Search Forums

View attachment 226838

Search forums are a brand new type of node, which aggregate threads from your entire installation based on criteria of your choosing. This allows your members to browse a more diverse selection of threads as though they were all posted in the same forum.

View attachment 226839The simplest use of search forums might be to display threads from a handful of different forums, but the same comprehensive criteria system available in the 'Batch update threads' tool is at your fingertips.

View attachment 226837Add-on developers, as ever, are able to extend this system to provide new options.

To ensure this feature performs as well as possible, results are cached for each user. You can set how long the cache lasts to make the appropriate trade-off between accuracy and performance.
This is a very neat new feature! There's definitely some common searches we encourage people to do for certain topic prefixes, and this will make that so much easier!
 

Stuart Wright

Well-known member
Search forums is a good replacement for the Forum Digest addon which (I think) I paid either Daniel Hood or John Wainwright to develop years ago and is now available as a different addon from @Xon here: https://xenforo.com/community/resources/aggregating-forums.6633/.
Search forums will be really useful for creating a 'summary' of the latest threads in, for example, all the TV forums which we have divided into a 'per manufacturer' basis. Nice addition.
 

TickTackk

Well-known member
Regarding the forum index improvements, does that mean if any thread that doesn't mean the criteria will be excluded from sitemap as well?
 

Russ

Well-known member
@Jeremy P , will this new search node type be available to use in areas like widgets? Like showing a "New Post" widget but setting the forum limit specific to the search node.
 

DragonByte Tech

Well-known member
SKREEEE I CAN'T BELIEVE THOSE ARE THE ONLY SEO IMPROVEMENTS, ACCORDING TO THIS ARBITRARY NUMBER MY SITE IS GONNA BE STUFFED ON PAGE 40 ON GOOGLE AND YOU NEED TO FIX IT NOW! $otherForumSoftware IS SO MUCH BETTER IN THIS DEPARTMENT AND IF YOU DON'T FIX IT RIGHT NOW I'M GOING TO HAVE TO SWITCH!

IN SHORT, I WANT TO SPEAK TO THE MANAGER!

Sorry, I couldn't resist :p
 

GPA-R

Active member
SKREEEE I CAN'T BELIEVE THOSE ARE THE ONLY SEO IMPROVEMENTS, ACCORDING TO THIS ARBITRARY NUMBER MY SITE IS GONNA BE STUFFED ON PAGE 40 ON GOOGLE AND YOU NEED TO FIX IT NOW! $otherForumSoftware IS SO MUCH BETTER IN THIS DEPARTMENT AND IF YOU DON'T FIX IT RIGHT NOW I'M GOING TO HAVE TO SWITCH!

IN SHORT, I WANT TO SPEAK TO THE MANAGER!

Sorry, I couldn't resist :p
Karens storming the thread in 3.2.1. :p
 

Mike

XenForo developer
Staff member
Regarding the forum index improvements, does that mean if any thread that doesn't mean the criteria will be excluded from sitemap as well?
Yes.

@Jeremy P , will this new search node type be available to use in areas like widgets? Like showing a "New Post" widget but setting the forum limit specific to the search node.
There isn't anything exposed like that, though it could potentially be done. It'd likely have to be a distinct widget type. May be worth a separate suggestion if it's something you're interested in.
 

JoyFreak

Well-known member
SKREEEE I CAN'T BELIEVE THOSE ARE THE ONLY SEO IMPROVEMENTS, ACCORDING TO THIS ARBITRARY NUMBER MY SITE IS GONNA BE STUFFED ON PAGE 40 ON GOOGLE AND YOU NEED TO FIX IT NOW! $otherForumSoftware IS SO MUCH BETTER IN THIS DEPARTMENT AND IF YOU DON'T FIX IT RIGHT NOW I'M GOING TO HAVE TO SWITCH!

IN SHORT, I WANT TO SPEAK TO THE MANAGER!

Sorry, I couldn't resist :p
Plot twist. You're not sorry :p
 

Mangini

Active member
I love the direction of Search Forums and hope to see a handful more of new content features like it coming. Anybody have use case ideas yet? I am still brainstorming for my own... good work @Jeremy P and another nice update from the XF staff!
 
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